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Body Composition and Power Performance Improved After Weight Reduction in Male Athletes Without Hampering Hormonal Balance

Huovinen, Heikki T.; Hulmi, Juha J.; Isolehto, Juha; Kyröläinen, Heikki; Puurtinen, Risto; Karila, Tuomo; Mackala, Krzysztof; Mero, Antti A.

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: January 2015 - Volume 29 - Issue 1 - p 29–36
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000619
Original Research

Abstract: Huovinen, HT, Hulmi, JJ, Isolehto, J, Kyröläinen, H, Puurtinen, R, Karila, T, Mackala, K, and Mero, AA. Body composition and power performance improved after weight reduction in male athletes without hampering hormonal balance. J Strength Cond Res 29(1): 29–36, 2015—The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a 4-week weight reduction period with high protein and reduced carbohydrate intake on body composition, explosive power, speed, serum hormones, and acid-base balance in male track and field jumpers and sprinters. Eight participants were assigned to a high weight reduction group (HWR; energy restriction 750 kcal·d−1) and 7 to a low weight reduction group (LWR; energy restriction 300 kcal·d−1). Energy and carbohydrate intake decreased significantly (p ≤ 0.05) only in HWR by 740 ± 330 kcal·d−1 and 130 ± 29 g·d−1, respectively. Furthermore, total body mass and fat mass decreased (p ≤ 0.05) only in HWR by 2.2 ± 1.0 kg and 1.7 ± 1.6 kg, respectively. Fat-free mass (FFM), serum testosterone, cortisol, and sex hormone–binding globulin did not change significantly. Ca2+ ion and pH decreased (p ≤ 0.05) only in HWR (3.1 ± 2.8% and 0.8 ± 0.8%, respectively), whereas

declined (p ≤ 0.05) in both groups by 19.3 ± 6.2% in HWR and by 13.1 ± 8.5% in LWR. The countermovement jump and 20-m sprint time improved consistently (p ≤ 0.05) only in HWR, by 2.6 ± 2.5 cm and 0.04 ± 0.04 seconds, respectively. Finally, athletes with a fat percentage of 10% or more at the baseline were able to preserve FFM. In conclusion, altered acid-base balance but improved weight-bearing power performance was observed without negative consequences on serum hormones and FFM after a 4-week weight reduction of 0.5 kg·wk−1 achieved by reduced carbohydrate but maintained high protein intake.

1Department of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland;

2Dextra Sports and Injury Clinic, Helsinki, Finland; and

3Department of Track and Field, University School of Physical Education in Wrocław (AWF), Wrocław, Poland

Address correspondence to Antti A. Mero,

Copyright © 2015 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.